Posts tagged ‘voting’

November 6th, 2012

Elections: For Those Who Have More Money Than Sense

brilliantmistake:

[I am really hoping this is short, as I am fighting a cold and may fall asleep at any oment. You’d think as the primate randomly banging keys on the magic box I would have some control over this thing, but my ADD and obsessive tendencies say otherwise.] 

Things are a little different for me this election; I have already voted via absentee ballot. I usually like to vote in person, day of. Thanks to our many elections, it’s almost like having a social life. However, I am away working and had to mail it in. 

I voted for Obama, although I briefly considered voting for the Roseanne Barr/Cindy Sheehan ticket, because c’mon ROSEANNE BARR. Seems only fair after we made Arnold governor. It was also Democrat for US Senator even though I am not the hugest fan of Feinstein, because at least she is not the anti-choice, anti-gay rights, etc, etc, person opposing her. 

Things get a little weirder for US Representative and State Assembly Member. Thanks to our new voting system (California: never afraid to screw-up democracy by making things more democratic), the top two vote getters in the primary, regardless of party, move on to the finals. So Rep Henry Waxman is running against … just some guy really. Some guy who seems to have no political opinions and is rich enough to dump $6 million of his own cash money into the campaign.

Honestly, thanks to online disclosure, one thing that’s really struck me this election is how politics has become a playground for rich individuals who wish to buy a law or elected office. I mean, I always knew that was the case, but seeing the numbers lay it was so starkly and with such regularity was still jarring. Doesn’t anyone go in for a good old fashioned bribing to get what they want anymore? 

The state assembly race brings a two democrats, Betsy Butler and Richard Bloom head to head. They differed by a mere 134 votes in the primary, which was nearly a four way tie - the candidates split the vote 25.8%/25.6%/24.4%/24.3%. This where cage fighting starts to sound like a more accurate, not to mention entertaining alternative. I vote for Betsy Butler again. 

In the DAs race, the runoff pits Jackie Lacey, Chief Deputy DA, against Alan Jackson, gang homicide prosecutor. Lucky for everybody, Carmen Trutanich, jerkface, came in a distant third, leaving him off this ballot entirely. Everybody have some medicial marijuana to celebrate. Oh, and vote for Jackie Lacey. She seems nice, in a very tough DA kind of way.

And then inevitably, there are the ballot measures. A mere eleven! It’s like you’re not even trying to micromanage anymore, California. 

Prop 30: A tax measure to increase funding to education. I have to admit, I’m even less impartial than usual here, as I work in education. But education has really undergone devastating cuts. Plus, the Howard K Jarvis foundation opposes it, which, in addition to their overall dedication to villainy, I find particularly galling, because Howard K Jarvis is the asshole who started the education funding debacle. Voted FOR.

Prop 31: Something about mandatory budgets and performance reviews? I am horribly confused, and neither the voter information guide or online sources provide much clarity. For exmple, it’s supported by Californians for Government Accountability and opposed by Californians for Transparent and Accountable Government (for real). This is bad romcom plot where two con artists try to con each other, right? Like, neither one realizes the other is a con artist, and they both pretend they are totally honest while trying to get grandma’s fortune (her) and the secret formula (him), except they fall in love, but then find out they’ve both been lying, so they break-up and mope about through a video montage set to an Adele song, then realize they must really love each other because they are both too attractive for that not to happen. It’s lovely, but keep it off our ballots, OK guys? Voted No.

Prop 32: Prevents unions from using payroll deducted funds for political purposes. You see, when corporations use the profits derived from your labor for political influence, that’s free speech. When a union uses dues for political purposes, that’s communism. By the way, Charles Munger Jr, Costco heir, has poured around $70 million into this election to support this measure and oppose Prop 30. Voted No.

Prop 33: Allows car insurance companies to set prices based on whether you’ve had insurance previously. So if your car insurance lapses for whatever reason (I voluntarily went for a year without a car, for example), prepare to pony up some cabbage regardless of your driving record. Seriously, we’re expected to vote on this nonsense. But wait! There’s a good reason we have to vote on it: a rich man wants us to. George Joseph, founder of Mercury Insurance Group, has supplied nearly 100% of the funding for Prop 33, about $16 million.  Oh, and the Howard K Jarvis Foundation supports it. Voted No.

Prop 34: Ends death penalty. Voted Yes. 

Prop 35: Anti-human trafficking.  OK, it’s not like I or anyone else is pro-human trafficking (except the human traffickers, I suppose), but even a legal moron such as myself can see that this proposition is horribly written. For every good thing it said, such not allowing the sexual conduct of a victim to undermine their credibility in court, it seemed to be matched by vague wording that could have voluntary sex workers labeled as sex offenders. This is another rich person pet law, with facebook billionaire Chris Kelly contributing $2.3 million (64% of the total). Way to cheap out on the sex slaves, Chris, George was willing to pony up eight times that much to rip me off on car insurance. Perhaps you should go back to trying to buy the Attorney General’s office. Voted No. 

Prop 36: Changes our terrible three strikes law into a slightly less terrible three strikes law. You know our punitive system is has passed into medieval territory when the LA District Attorney and Sheriff think it’s time to lighten up a bit already. Maybe just a twenty year sentence for shoplifting that pack of gum. Voted yes. 

Prop 37: Requires labeling of genetically modified food, or at least some genetically modified food, depending on what you mean by modified, really. Another terribly written and vague law. Besides, while I have issues with some of the ecological effects of certain genetically modified crops (I’m looking at you, Round-Up resistance), I’m not really worried about the health effects, and I’m not blanketly against GM. Voted No.

Prop 38: Tax to fund education, aka, Mungers Gone Wild, part two. This time it’s Molly Munger, who has funded 92% of the pro side, or $44 million. The Mungers have pumped over a $100 million into propositions. I can’t wait for the election where they are directly pitted against each other. The country might actually run out of money. I voted no, because this proposition undermines prop 30. Supporters (by which I mean Molly Munger) say that this proposition is better because it gives money directly to the schools. You what else goes directly to the schools? Donations. Perhaps that’s a better use of the costco dough.

Prop 39: Requires business to pay tax based on California sales. Funds go to clean energy. Why are we voting on this? Because a rich person wants us to. Haven’t you been paying attention? Tom Steyer, who does something fancy with money for a living, has supplied 94% of the cash for this baby, almost $30 million. Tom has made the Giving Pledge to give half of his fortune to worthwhile charities, and I will kick him in the shins if he thinks sponsoring a ballot initiative on corporate taxes is one of them. Nonetheless, I voted for it, mostly because many of the anti-tax groups I loathe oppose it. 

Prop 40: Approves the redistricting that we already approved via another proposition, thus taking our obsessive voter initiatives to new levels of redundancy. Luckily (and surprisingly) a judge has quashed this nonsense and the opposition has retracted their opposition. Although that didn’t stop Charles Munger from dropping $600 K in its support. To be fair, that’s ticket-fixing chump change to a Munger. 

That’s it for the state initiatives. But wait! There’s more fun in the county measures. Porn stars! And not just running for governor!

Measure A: Changes the County Assessor to an appointed position from an elected one. No wait, it doesn’t change anything, it just asks my opinion on the subject and has absolutely no effect. Holy shit dudes, this is the ballot equivalent of a web poll. Voted yes, but allow me to introduce you to my little friend surveymonkey.com, and let us never repeat this nonsense again.

Measure B: Requires porn actors to wear condoms. That’s right, not content to tinker with tax code, our ballot initiatives even seek to micromanage what porn stars put on their willies. Voted No.

Measure J: Another Ballot measure to accelerate transportation projects in Los Angeles. Voted yes, and am currently hoping for a Autodammerung/Caraclysm/Transpotastrophe so terrible it will make Carmageddon and the Rampture look like witty portmanteaus by comparison. 

Done! The short thing really didn’t work out, did it? We lose to our inner demons every time, I suppose. The important thing is to vote. Remember, democracy only works if you vote and very rich people spend staggering amounts of money to influence the political process!

[Also, no Sheriff Lee Baca endorsements? It seems so empty without them]

Californians, obey my sister in all things, she is a PROFESSIONAL SCIENTIST.